Since the December 14 termination by Actors’ Equity Association of the 99-Seat Plan, Los Angeles intimate theatres have been tackling the issue of how to continue to produce under these new conditions. Some producing organizations have implied they intend to go completely non-union in the future, and others have simply announced they are unable to make the jump to the new Agreement, and must find a feasible way to keep producing that works within their financial realities.
This morning, @ This Stage received a note from the Artistic Directors of The Theatre @ Boston Court stating their chosen course of action:
The now-expired Equity 99-Seat Plan enabled Boston Court to grow and develop in ways that would never have been possible if that plan had not existed. Many of our careers were built in 99-seat houses, and we wear that badge proudly. From our first production, The Theatre @ Boston Court has paid actors more than the plan required and, as we hope we have demonstrated, we have challenged ourselves to increase our pay to artists as we are able. It has always been our goal at Boston Court to transition to an Equity contract as the organization grew, and we feel we must continue to give each play what it needs, including working with a blend of Equity and non-Equity actors.
For that reason, as Equity has not provided any options that would enable us to continue to grow slowly to a contract over time, The Theatre @ Boston Court has begun to produce under the new LA 99-Seat Theatre Agreement. Our 2017 season will be composed of only three plays, not our usual four, and will employ the smallest number of actors in our history in order to afford to be in compliance.
While several other theatres have also decided to convert to the LA 99-Seat Theatre Agreement, already a number of theaters have announced that they will not be able to make the leap to the new Agreement. Those theatres will either cease production or find ways to work without an Equity agreement. We mourn the losses this will mean for our beloved theatre community. We treasure the opportunities the 99-seat Plan afforded us, and the rich gift it has been to our vibrant community of passionate and talented theatre artists. We are proud to be part of the amazing LA theatre community, and look forward to continued partnership and collaboration.
Jessica Kubzansky and Michael Michetti
Artistic Directors, The Theatre @ Boston Court/
Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Has your organization decided how to move forward under these new conditions? If so, send these statements to @ This Stage; we’d love to share it with the community.